Friday, June 27, 2008

China Denies Politicizing Olympics After IOC Rebuke

China Denies Politicizing Olympics After IOC Rebuke
By VOA News
26 June 2008

Olympic flame, center right, and main flame, center left, displayed before being used to light cauldron during ceremony in square in front of Potala Palace, Lhasa, 21 Jun 2008

Olympic flame, center right, and main flame, center left, displayed before being used to light cauldron during ceremony in square in front of Potala Palace, Lhasa, 21 Jun 2008
China denies it is failing to keep the Olympic Games and politics separate after a Communist party official criticized the Dalai Lama at a torch relay ceremony in Tibet.

The Chinese foreign ministry Thursday said the official's comments did not contradict China's opposition to politicizing the Olympics.

The ministry said the comments were meant to create a stable environment for the Olympics.

Earlier Thursday, the International Olympic Committee urged the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic games to make sure such situations do not happen again.

The IOC said it regrets that the political statements were made during the closing torch relay ceremony Saturday in Tibet's capital, Lhasa.

Anti-Chinese government riots that erupted in Lhasa in March sparked a harsh crackdown by Chinese troops.

The crackdown led to chaotic demonstrations at several stops on the international leg of the torch relay for the Beijing Olympics that begin in August.

for more news About OLYMPICS VISIT HERE

Tibet to reopen to foreigners Wednesday: state media

Dan Martin , AFP
Published: Tuesday, June 24, 2008

BEIJING - China will allow foreign tourists back into Tibet from Wednesday, state-run Xinhua news agency reported, lifting a ban imposed after it cracked down on anti-Chinese unrest three months ago.

The announcement late Tuesday came just three days after China paraded the Beijing Olympic torch through the Tibetan capital Lhasa in a tightly controlled relay which proved the Himalayan region was now "safe" for foreigners, the report said.

"The success of the recent torch relay proved Tibet to be more stabilized and the time was right to reopen," it quoted Tanor, deputy director of the regional tourism authority, as saying.

Tibet is safe. We welcome the domestic and foreign tourists."

Beijing kicked all tourists and foreigners out of Tibet after violent protests against Chinese rule erupted in mid-March, prompting a massive Chinese security clampdown.

The crackdown triggered global condemnation and protests around the world over China's heavy-handed control of the remote Himalayan region.

China allowed mainland Chinese tour groups back in at the end of April, followed by visitors from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan in May.

But it had so far maintained the ban on foreign visitors and overseas journalists, saying Tibet remained "unsafe" for foreigners due to the violent actions of "separatist" forces loyal to the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, whom Beijing blames for the unrest.

Overseas pro-Tibet groups, however, have said China was using the safety issue as an excuse to hide a massive campaign of arrests and political "re-education" aimed at extinguishing any support for the Dalai Lama.

Tanor was quoted as saying two Swedish tourists would arrive in Lhasa on Wednesday, followed by four from Singapore on Sunday.

The report gave no information on any restrictions visitors may face or whether foreign journalists also would be allowed into the Himalayan region.

China's foreign ministry could not immediately provide further information when contacted by AFP.

China's crackdown sparked international protests that dogged the torch's month-long global journey in April before it arrived in China for a nationwide relay.

Exiled Tibetan leaders say 203 people died in the Chinese clampdown on the riots, which began in Lhasa after monks led peaceful protests to mark a 1959 uprising and later spread across the Tibetan plateau.

China has reported killing one Tibetan "insurgent" and says "rioters" were responsible for 21 deaths.

Authorities have released 1,157 people who were involved in the Lhasa riots, Xinhua reported on the eve of Saturday's Olympic torch relay, a move seen as an attempt to defuse tension ahead of the event.

A total of 42 people have been punished by the courts, with another 116 awaiting trial, it said, quoting a senior Tibetan official.

With the Beijing Olympics set to start in less than two months, China faced the prospect of the Games being tarnished by continued overseas criticism of its Tibet policies if it were to have kept the region sealed off.

State media reports also have lamented the impact of the crackdown on the region's tourism industry.

Officials had previously predicted visitors to the remote region would hit five million in 2008, with tourist revenue soaring 24 percent.

But just 120,000 people have visited Tibet since the end of April, according to official figures.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Olympic Torch in Lhasa ,TIBET

(LHASA, June 21) -- The Olympic torch has set out from Norbulingka and starts its journey to Tibet's capital Lhasa, which literally means "place of the gods", on Saturday.

A total of 156 torchbearers including 75 Tibetans will run the Lhasa leg, which covers 9.3 kilometers.

The run is scheduled to end at the hilltop at Potala Palace.

The majestic Potala Palace with its glistening roofs is the pinnacle of the labor and wisdom of the Tibetan race. It is a wonder in the history of Oriental architecture, and the pride of the lands of snow. It is symbol of the ancient city of Lhasa, and also a spot unique to Tibet.

The Potala Palace was built by Tubo King Songtsan Gambo in the 7th century. It underwent renovation during the time of the 5th Dalai Lama Ngawang Lhosang Gyamco in the 17th century. However, the Potala Palace didn't undergo a thorough repair until the 1980s. Standing atop the Red Hill, the Potala Palace was built along the slope of the hill. It extends 360 meters from east to west and 140 meters from south to north. Rising 13 stories, the palace is 115.7 meters tall. Palace walls were erected with granite slabs, the thickest part measuring five meters.

The Potala Palace is made up by the White and Red Palaces, with the Red Palace in the center flanked on both sides by the White Palace. The Red Palace houses Buddha halls and stupas for the remains of the successive generations of the Dalai Lama. The White Palace, built entirely of granite slabs, is where the Dalai Lamas of various generations live and handle government and Buddhist affairs. Its western wing contains dorms for monks. When visitors reach the Potala Palace from the south, they will arrive at the giant City Gate and Shoi Village, which holds many ancient buildings down a zigzagging stone path leading to the Puncog Duinam Gate. Upon going through the gate, they will reach the Deyang Hall Square, where various generations of the Dalai Lama, senior monks and lay officials watched Tibetan opera, singers and dance performances. East of the square is Zelhazha, the site of the old monk official school, and west of the square is the gate to the White House. Many priceless frescoes hang on the walls of the entrance hall, some depicting the construction of the Potala Palace and the Jokhang Monastery in the 7th century, and others illustrating the story of Tubo Minister Gar Tongtsan going to Chang'an (present-day Xi'an and capital of the Tang Dynasty) to greet Tang Princess Wencheng upon her arrival in Lhasa, where she married Tubo King Songtsan Gambo.

Coqenxag, the Eastern Hall, is where many generations of Dalai Lamas came to power and were enthroned upon reaching the stipulated age of 18. A horizontal board reading "Promoting Buddhism in Defense of the Border," written by Qing Dynasty Emperor Tongzhi, hangs above the entrance. The top floor contains two living chambers. As they enjoy sunshine all day long, the chambers are called the West Sunshine Hall (also called Nyiwei Soinam Legyi, which used to be the living chambers for the 13th Dalai Lama) and the East Sunshine Hall (also called Gaindain Namse, which used to be the living chambers for the 14th Dalai Lama). Major buildings of the Red Palace include the Hall for the Holy Stupas. The largest of the holy stupas is for the 5th Dalai Lama. Called Choiling Gyamgyia, "a grand building in the world," the stupa is 14.85 meters tall. Its base and body are wrapped in 110,000 taels of gold and inlaid with 1,500 gems. The Red Palace also holds a Western Hall. Also called Sishi Puncog, the Western Hall houses the stupa for the 5th Dalai Lama and its interior is a world of frescos telling stories of his life. One section depicts the 5th Dalai Lama paying homage to Qing Dynasty Emperor Shunzhi in Beijing in 1652. Galleries on each floor of the Red Palace contain many frescoes. The gallery on the second floor contains even more frescoes, including one which tells of the first construction of the Potala Palace through the commissioning of the Red Palace and the holding of the Lessor Grand Summons Ceremony. The highest point of the Red Palace is the Hall of Deterrence to the Three Worlds, or the Sasum Namgyal Hall. This hall enshrines the portrait of Emperor Qianlong and an imperial longevity tablet written in the four languages of Han, Tibetan, Mongolian and Manchurian.

Between the Red and White Palaces is Qoigyi Zhapu, or the Cave for the Prince of Dharma. Legend has it that this was the place Tubo King Songtsan Gambo and his wives Tang Dynasty Princess Wencheng and Nepalese Princess Bhributi practiced Buddhism. The statues of Songtsan Gambo, Princess Wencheng, Princess Bhributi, Mangsa Trijang, and Tubo Ministers Tome Sangbozha and Gar Tongtsan are enshrined inside the cave. Pagpa Lhakhang, the Hall of the Goddess of Mercy, which was built much earlier than other halls in the palace, is located at the top of Qoigyi Zhapu. Above the entrance is a panel with an inscription reading "Blissful Soil Nourishing Miraculous Fruits," also written by Qing Emperor Tongzhi.

On the top of the Potala Palace are seven of what we call Golden Tops, glistening in the sunshine. They follow Tibetan and Han architectural styles, and make the Potala Palace majestic and holy. Inside the palace are preserved numerous Buddhist scriptures, tangka painting scrolls, statues of Buddha, sculptures, brocades and silks produced during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911), chinaware, gold and silver wares, golden sheets of appointment and golden seals of authority, which emperors of feudal Chinese rulers granted to Dalai Lamas of various generations, as well as a golden urn called Jinbenbaping, which Qing Emperor Qianlong had cast in his 57th year of reign (1792) for the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Erdeni. When one of the two Living Buddhas has demised, his soul boy would be determined by drawing a lot from the golden urn.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Security tight as torch tours west China

Security tight as torch tours west China


Boxer Abudu Xukur sets off during Olympic Torch Relay, Tuesday, June 17, 2008, in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China's most western province. The torch started its relay route Tuesday through the restive region of Xinjiang amid cheering crowds and heavy security. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

KASHGAR, China (AP) — Shops and roads were closed and people were kept off the streets Wednesday as part of a huge security effort to safeguard the Olympic torch as it wound its way through this predominantly Muslim city in China's restive far west.

Black-gloved security agents jogged alongside the flame during the relay through the streets of Kashgar, an ancient Silk Road city in the Xinjiang region near the borders of Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Foreign journalists were not allowed along the route, where cheering bystanders shouted "Go China!" under sunny skies.

The heavy security in Xinjiang, where Beijing says violent separatists have been fighting for independence, foreshadowed the treatment the torch was likely to be given when it makes a one-day stop Saturday in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet that erupted in anti-Beijing protests and riots in March.

The flame was originally supposed to go through Tibet on Wednesday or Thursday, and it is unclear why organizers changed the date. Relay organizers announced the new date on Wednesday.

That leg has been shrouded in secrecy because of political sensitivities surrounding Tibet. The route has been criticized by Tibet activist groups who see it as an attempt by Beijing to symbolize its control over the Himalayan region.

China says it has ruled Tibet for centuries, although many Tibetans say their homeland was essentially independent for much of that time.

Tensions were aggravated by the March riots and protests against Chinese rule in Lhasa and other ethnic Tibetan areas throughout China led to a security clampdown in the region.

Like Tibet, Xinjiang is a region with a culture and language distinct from that of China's dominant Han ethnic group. For decades, radicals among its main Turkic-speaking Uighur ethnic group have been waging a low-intensity struggle against Chinese rule.

On at least three occasions this year, authorities say they foiled plots by Xinjiang separatists that targeted the Olympics either directly or indirectly, including alleged attempts by ethnic Uighur activists to crash an airliner and kidnap athletes and journalists.

In Kashgar on Wednesday, hundreds of militia and police lined the torch route, which began near a downtown mosque with several speeches praising China's development over the last 30 years.

Xinjiang officials accompanied foreign journalists on a bus to the relay and did not allow them to wander from the group. After the start, the journalists were taken to the finish point — a square dominated by a giant statue of Mao Zedong, a reminder of heavy-handed Communist Party rule over the region since People's Liberation Army forces entered in 1949.

The high level of security shows how worried Beijing is about its grip on Xinjiang, said Nicholas Bequelin, an expert on Xinjiang with the Hong Kong-based Human Rights Watch.

"The incredible extent of the effort going into security, it tells us that Beijing is not that confident of its legitimacy in the eyes of the local people."

Hundreds of schoolchildren were also on hand, waving Chinese and Olympic flags. A moment of silence was held first to honor the nearly 70,000 victims of last month's earthquake centered in Sichuan province.

The relay with 208 runners ended without incident two hours later.

The torch has had a smooth run in China, undisturbed by the protests over Tibet and human rights that hounded parts of its international tour. Yet the Xinjiang leg and the one in Tibet are by far the most sensitive of the domestic relay — a fact underscored by the heavy security.

Organizers said last month that the Tibet stop, originally three days, would be cut to one day to make way for a switch in the torch's Sichuan leg to just before the start of the Aug. 8 Olympics.

The final torch bearer in Kashgar was Dawut Haxim, who was named a hero for his relief efforts after a magnitude-6.8 quake in Xinjiang killed more than 260 people in 2003. He said by carrying the torch he was representing all Uighurs. "I hope that the rebuilding in Sichuan is a success," he told the carefully selected crowd, which appeared to be just invited dignitaries and schoolchildren. An ethnic song and dance show was also put on.

Roads were blocked, including side streets where local residents could be seen waiting behind police lines an hour after the relay ended. A short while later a convoy of 16 army trucks with soldiers in the back was seen driving through the city.

"It was no good," said one middle-aged Uighur man when asked if he was interested in the torch relay. Sitting on a step on a side street near the square in the middle of Kashgar, he waved off a reporter when asked to give his name.

Overseas activists have criticized China for using the relay to demonstrate its control over the restive areas. Many native residents reject claims that they have long been an integral part of Chinese territory and resent Han dominance over the economy and government.

Olympic torch relay cut to one day in Tibet

Olympic torch relay cut to one day in Tibet

BEIJING (AFP) — China has scrapped its original plans for a three-day Olympic torch relay tour of Tibet and will send the flame there just for one day this weekend, a Beijing Olympic official said Wednesday.

Zhu Jing, a spokeswoman at the Beijing Games organising committee, said the decision to cut short the relay and run it through the Tibetan capital Lhasa on Saturday was taken following last month's earthquake in Sichuan province.

"Following the earthquake on May 12, BOCOG has announced adjustments to the domestic legs of the torch relay," Zhu said.

"The Tibet leg of the relay will be on June 21, with the relay taking place in Lhasa."

The torch was originally scheduled to tour Tibet for three days from June 19 to 21 as part of its long international journey to the Games being hosted by the Chinese capital in August.

The torch is currently travelling through Xinjiang, a largely Muslim region in China's northwest, on a three-day, four-city tour scheduled to end Thursday.

The stops in Xinjiang and the Tibetan regions of China are regarded as the most sensitive of the domestic relay route, which runs for thousands of miles (kilometres) over three months through every part of the country.

China accuses Muslim separatists in Xinjiang of plotting terrorist attacks on the Games and stepped up security in the region ahead of the relay.

Tibetans are also accused of targeting the Olympics, following a crackdown on anti-Chinese government unrest in Lhasa in March in which exiled Tibetan leaders say 203 people died.

China has reported killing one Tibetan "insurgent" and says "rioters" were responsible for 21 deaths.

Despite the unrest China stuck with its original plan to take the torch relay to the top of Mount Everest on May 8 using a separate flame from the one used on the relay route through the rest of the country.

The ascent took place under tight security and triggered protests from exiled Tibetan groups who said it was a provocation and politicised the torch relay.

China's rule over Tibet was a major rallying cry for protesters who dogged the torch's month-long global journey in April before it came here.

Pro-Tibet activists have argued that the leg in Lhasa should be cancelled due to the unrest.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said Chinese authorities were using the relay as a propaganda tool and had been carrying out arbitrary arrests to prevent protests during the relay.

"It is irresponsible for the Chinese government to deliberately send a torch into a powder keg, and the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and Olympic sponsors should ask Beijing to cancel this part of the relay," the group said in a statement.

BOCOG said that 50 journalists from 31 news organisations would be allowed to cover the relay in Lhasa, which has been off limits to foreign reporters and tourists since the crackdown on unrest there three months ago.

"We will make proper arrangements for media coverage of the relay in Lhasa," said Zhu.

She declined to say whether scrapping the original three-day torch leg was connected to security fears in the Himalayan region following the unrest.

"The adjustment to the Tibet leg of the torch relay is because of the earthquake, which has caused us to make several changes to the original route," said Zhu.

According to the original torch relay schedule, the Tibetan leg was to be followed by a trip to neighbouring Qinghai and then Gansu province, which both have ethnic Tibetan communities.

Zhu said the future route had yet to be officially announced. Torch relay organisers in the Qinghai capital of Xining told AFP that they had no information and calls to the torch relay office in Gansu's capital Lanzhou went unanswered.

Tight security as Olympic flame starts Xinjiang leg

Tight security as Olympic flame starts Xinjiang leg

URUMQI, China (AFP) — Police imposed a security lockdown as the Olympic torch Tuesday started its run through China's mainly Muslim region of Xinjiang, seen as one of the most sensitive legs on its nationwide journey.

The centre of the regional capital Urumqi was largely shut down and police checkpoints restricted movement throughout the normally bustling city.

Police imposed particularly heavy security at the central People's Square, where Tuesday's relay kicked off, and anyone entering had to go through metal detectors and bag searches.

The flame's passage through Xinjiang and the Tibetan regions of China are considered the most sensitive of the three-month journey to the Beijing Games in August because of simmering discontent among local ethnic groups.

The three-day, four-city Xinjiang leg began with a 12-kilometre (7.5-mile) relay through Urumqi from People's Square, regarded as a symbol of Communist power in the city.

The crowd, numbering about 3,000, chanted "Go, China!" and "Go, Olympics!" as the relay got underway under sunny skies. Many had stickers of the Chinese flag on their cheeks.

They were overwhelmingly Han Chinese, with only a tiny number of Uighurs, the largest ethnic group in the region.

Leading away from the square, the crowds lining the route were also mostly Chinese, many of them young people given a break from their studies, as well as government employees.

"What I am passing on is the friendship and solidarity of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang," one torchbearer was widely quoted as saying on state-run television.

After the torch had passed, the security apparatus was quickly dismantled. The relay ended at about noon, after the flame had been carried by 208 torch bearers.

Xinjiang is a region of vast deserts and stunning mountains that is home to more than eight millions Uighurs, a Muslim, Central Asian people who speak a Turkic language.

Many Uighurs discreetly allege Chinese political and religious oppression and systematic discrimination against them in employment, education, and business.

The Urumqi relay appeared to get under way without trouble, but AFP could not immediately determine its further progress as Chinese authorities required journalists to choose just one vantage point.

The torch was not due to pass through the Uighur quarter in the south of the city, a local official told AFP. The public also was urged to watch the relay on television to keep the proceedings more controllable.

A large red banner at the square called for unity among Xinjiang's ethnic minorities, while a giant TV screen showed video footage proclaiming that its 47 minorities "get along so well."

Despite Tuesday's fanfare, some Uighurs were bemused by the relay's arrival.

"What does it have to do with us? That is China's Olympics. We don't care," a shop owner named Azatjan said dismissively before the start, as his daughter urged him to be quiet.

Uighur exiles and residents told AFP that Chinese authorities had detained thousands of Uighurs, and confiscated the passports of many others, in recent months.

Some Muslims told AFP the passport measure was to prevent anyone linking up abroad with "terrorist" plots aimed at the Olympics.

The sensitivity of the Xinjiang leg was heightened earlier this year when Beijing said it had smashed Xinjiang-based terror plots targeting the Games.

Uighurs widely dismiss such Chinese claims as an attempt to justify strict control of Xinjiang.

"Uighurs are living in a culture of fear, facing persecution, marginalisation and assimilation that erode the very core of their cultural identity, religious belief and economic rights," said Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the Germany-based World Uighur Congress, an exile group.

The torch moves Wednesday to the Silk Road oasis city of Kashgar, then to the cities of Shihezi and Changji on Thursday.

The timing of the Xinjiang leg had been unexpectedly brought forward from its original slot next week.

The leg through Tibet, shrouded in mystery after anti-Chinese riots erupted across the Tibetan plateau in March, will take place on Saturday, state media said Monday.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

For Olympics, China Ramps Up Copyright Infringement Campaign

June 16, 2008, 3:53 pm
For Olympics, China Ramps Up Copyright Infringement Campaign

By Flora Zhang
Olympics 2008: The Issues

When it comes to copyrights, China is perhaps better known for violations than for protection, as demonstrated by a steady flow of fake Harry Potter books in its market last year and a lawsuit filed by Gucci recently. For the Olympics, China is charting an active stance. Xinhua news agency reported that the country has started a campaign to crackdown on online intellectual copyright infringement of Olympic-related events and activities — particularly video-sharing.

“We will also mobilize online authors and the public to cooperate in this movement,” said Xu Chao, a senior official with the National Copyright Administration. “They can report alleged infringement cases via telephone hot line or the Internet.”

The hotline, 12312, will be in operation during the games to take in reports of infringement cases from citizens.

While the focus of the crackdown will be on video-sharing Web sites (see article in Chinese), it remains to be seen whether reining in Olympic-related materials will be an easy task.

On YouTube, a search for Olympic terms turns up plenty of hits that feature the official mascots or slogan, including the following animated Fuwa (福娃) video that serves as a promotional boon for China’s Olympic effort.

Chinese Company Gains Olympic Webcast Rights

June 17, 2008, 12:49 am
Chinese Company Gains Olympic Webcast Rights

By Azadeh Ensha

The Chinese Web portal Inc. announced Monday that it has signed an agreement with the Internet arm of CCTV, the Chinese state television network, granting it official rights to webcast the Beijing Olympic Games, including the opening and closing ceremonies as well as all athletic competitions.

Under the contract, will offer live webcasts and video on demand of Olympic events, relying on its 700-person-plus staff to manage pictures, videos, blogs and forums. The company will “provide total coverage of Chinese representatives, athletes, teams, and Olympic champions at least 60 seconds ahead of any other website,” according to the Beijing Games official site.

The amount of the deal was unspecified.

In 2005, the Beijing-based portal reportedly paid $30 million for the rights to host the Games’ Web site for the Beijing Olympics and to use its logo. Sohu also moved to claim exclusive rights to host all advertising by Beijing Games sponsors who use the Olympics logo, a move that spurred other Chinese sites, including Sohu competitor Sina, to form an alliance against Sohu.

The rivalry underscores the growing business of Internet marketing in China. As of June 2007, there were more than 160 million Internet users in China, placing it second behind the U.S., and online ads were expected to generate an estimated 8.3 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) for the year, according to an article in China Daily.

This week Reuters reported that broadcasters had yet to learn whether their applications for licenses to transmit live from major landmarks — an integral part of coverage at past Olympics — had been approved for the Beijing Games, despite previous promises by China to grant access.

“The line we’re getting from various authorities is that policies on live transmissions from outside Olympic venues and iconic sites have not been decided yet,” Kevin Fleck of Global Vision, which provides services to Olympic sponsors, rights holders and non-rights holders, told Reuters. “Broadcasters needed the decision to be made months ago because they have to commit budgets and allocate air-time for Olympic slots,” he added.

Following a Monday meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, International Olympic Committee member Kevan Gosper told The Associated Press: “There has been some progress in the last two weeks, I can tell you that. But I can’t say we are there yet.”

At a meeting among TV executives, IOC officials and top Chinese leadership in Beijing on May 29, broadcasters were told it was unlikely they would be allowed to transmit live from outside venues, the AP reports. Chinese officials may be motivated to limit access in order to prevent foreign cameras from sighting protests by groups opposing the government.

The IOC estimates that about 30,000 accredited and non-accredited journalists will cover the games.

This year also marks the first time the IOC has allowed athletes to blog at the Games.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

China's Liu Xiang in doubt for last pre-Games race -- coach

China's Liu Xiang in doubt for last pre-Games race -- coach

BEIJING (AFP) — China's 110m hurdles world champion Liu Xiang is a doubt for Sunday's Prefontaine Classic in the United States, his last race before the Beijing Olympics, his coach said.

Speaking in Eugene, Oregon, where the Chinese Olympic champion is training, coach Sun Haiping said that Liu had made a full recovery from a tight hamstring that kept him out of a race in New York last weekend.

But a cautious Sun told Thursday's Nanfang Sports newspaper that the 24-year-old star was still feeling muscle twinges in other areas and would have to prove himself fit before he would be allowed to race.

"We will put his spikes on and run him over the hurdles fast," Sun was quoted as saying.

"If there is still trouble, then he will pull out (of Sunday's race). If he comes through without a problem, then we will certainly race.

"In training over the past couple of days Liu still suffered some pain but the problems are not related to his hamstring but are from other areas."

The decision to pull Liu out of the New York race sparked near-panic back home with newspapers saying Liu's Olympic preparations had been disrupted.

The Shanghai runner established himself as a sporting idol in China when he won the Olympic title in Athens four years ago and then set a new 110m world record in 2006 before running away with the world title last year.

But he has only competed twice at outdoor events this season including an appearance at an Olympic test event last month in Beijing at which he faced no international competition.

On both occasions his pace was well below his own world record of 12.88sec and the 12.92 mark he set in winning the world championship in Osaka last August.

Sun admitted that the latest injury scare had been a set-back for Liu's Olympic preparations.

"In 2008 we haven't had any races with high-level competition so these two US events were planned to be our warm-up for the Olympics," he said.

Liu's preparations for the Games would have to be modified, Sun added.

"From a training point of view, first we need to help him recover, then we need new tactics," he said, without elaborating.


China lists Olympic rules for foreigners

BEIJING, China (AP) -- Foreigners attending the Beijing Olympics better behave -- or else.

People are shown in late April walking past a sign in Beijing warning foreigners.

The Beijing Olympic organizing committee issued a stern, nine-page document Monday that covers 57 topics. Written in Chinese only and posted on the official Web site, the guide covers everything from a ban on sleeping outdoors to the need for government permission to stage a protest.

Visitors also should know this:

# Those with "mental diseases" or contagious conditions will be barred.

# Some parts of the country are closed to visitors -- one of them Tibet.

# Olympic tickets are no guarantee of a visa to enter China.

Fearing protests during the August 8-24 Olympics, China's government has tightened controls on visas and residence permits for foreigners. It has also promised a massive security presence at the games, which may include undercover agents dressed as volunteers.

The guide said Olympic ticket holders "still need to visit China embassies and consulates and apply for visas according to the related rules."

The government hopes to keep out activists and students who might stage pro-Tibet rallies that would be broadcast around the world. It also fears protests over China's oil and arms trade with Sudan, and any disquiet from predominantly Muslim regions in western China.
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"In order to hold any public gathering, parade or protest the organizer must apply with the local police authorities. No such activity can be held unless a permit is given. ... Any illegal gatherings, parades and protests and refusal to comply are subject to administrative punishments or criminal prosecution."

The document also warns against the display of insulting slogans or banners at any sports venue. It also forbids any religious or political banner at an Olympic venue that "disturbs the public order."

The guidelines seem to clash with a pledge made two month ago by International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge, who said athletes could exercise freedom of speech in China. He asked only that athletes refrain from making political statements at certain official Olympics venues.

"Freedom of expression is something that is absolute," Rogge said in Beijing in April. "It's a human right. Athletes have it."

The detailed document is titled: "A guide to Chinese law for Foreigners coming to, leaving or staying in China during the Olympics." This appears under the slogan of the Beijing Olympics: "One World, One Dream."

For months Chinese authorities denied there had been any change to visa regulations, but recently acknowledged that rules had been amended. The changes may have little affect on some of the 500,000 foreigners expected to visit for the Olympics, many of whom will come on package tours with visas already arranged.

The rules published Monday say entry will be denied to those "who might conduct acts of terrorism, violence and government subversion ... and those who might engage in activities endangering China's national security and national interest."

The rules also bar entry to smugglers, drug traffickers, prostitutes and those with "mental diseases" or contagious conditions.

The document also warns foreigners that not all areas of the country are open to visitors. One such area is Tibet, which is also off limits to journalists.

"Not all of China is open to foreigners, and they shall not go to any venue not open to them," the statement said.

The guide also spells out a long list of items that cannot be brought into the country, including weapons, imitation weapons, ammunition, explosives, counterfeit currency, drugs and poisons. It also prohibits the entry of materials "that are harmful to China's politics, economics, culture and morals".

Foreigners staying with Chinese residents in urban areas must register at a local police station within 24 hours of arriving. The limit in rural areas is 72 hours.

The guide also threatens criminal prosecution against anyone "who burns, defaces ... insults or tramps on the national flag or insignia."

For those planning on sleeping outdoors to save a little money -- forget it. This is banned to "maintain public hygiene and the cultured image of the cities."

Monday, June 2, 2008

Olympic torch burns brightly in Jingzhou

The torch carriers also include world weightlifting champion Guan Hong and Chinese actress Zeng Li.

At the launching ceremony, the torchbearers and spectators observed a minute of silence to the victims of the 8.0-magnitude earthquake which struck southwestern China's Sichuan Province on May 12.

Jingzhou is one of the first 24 historic cities of cultural significance selected by the State Council and also the cradle of Chu culture of ancient China.

As a transportation hub and distribution center of commodities since ancient times, the city has become a strategic place of military importance in Chinese history.

JINGZHOU, Central China, June 2 (Xinhua) -- The Beijing Olympic torch relay started its Jingzhou leg on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River on Monday, the last segment in central China's Hubei province.

The 18.6-kilometer relay of 208 torchbearers kicked off at 8:13 a.m. at the Golden Phoenix Square and will pass through the Ancient Jingzhou Town and end at Shalongda Square.

Zheng Lihui, who claimed a men's gymnastics team gold at Sydney Olympics, opened the relay as the first torchbearer. As the No. 3 torchbearer, the Greek ambassador to China Michael Cambanis delivered the flame on the Nine Dragon Bridge of the city.

Chinese Olympics relay member donates torch to quake relief

Chinese Olympics relay member donates torch to quake relief

Special report: Reconstruction After Earthquake

BEIJING, June 2 (Xinhua) -- Luo Xuejuan, the first Chinese bearer of the 2008 global Olympic torch relay, is donating her torch to the China Siyuan & The Loving Torch Foundation, which is dedicated to rebuilding areas ravaged by the May 12 Wenchuan earthquake.

"This torch doesn't belong to me alone. It belongs to the nation," said the Athens Olympic 100-meter breaststroke gold medalist.

"I hope the flame of our loving hearts will kindle people's hope for beautiful lives."

Luo also took part in the disaster relief fund-raising event organized by CCTV (China Central Television) and donations organized by the sports circles.

One of the founders of the Siyuan & The Loving Torch Foundation, Luo has been involved with disaster relief work, aiming to provide aid to people affected by the earthquake, especially women.

news courtesy:xinhua

China issues strict rules for summer Olympics

China issues strict rules for summer Olympics

Locking lips at Safeco Field will get you only a minor public outcry. But if you're going to the Chinese Olympic Games this summer, you'd better not mess with the rules.

The Beijing Olympic organizing committee issued a stern, 57-topic guide letting foreigners know what they can't do as they enjoy the games this August -- like sleep outdoors, enter Tibet or stage a protest without the government's permission.

No word on whether kissing is allowed in the stands, but so much for freedom of speech. According to the Associated Press, the guide forbids the display of insulting slogans and any religious or political banner that "disturbs the political order."

It also informs visitors that people with "mental diseases" -- whatever those are -- will be barred from events.

The Olympic committee earlier had to apologize after a volunteer guide that used striking stereotypes to describe the physically disabled spawned a wave of protest.

Read more from the Associated Press.